See It: Chanel Mobile Art

Every once in a while there’s an art-for-the-masses idea that shakes up conventional notions. Enter the Chanel Mobile Art exhibit. Housed in a supersleek 7,500-square-foot portable pavilion/container that’s likened to a spacecraft—and designed by London architect extraordinaire Zaha Hadid—the exhibit is making its third of six landings in its two-year voyage. Next stop, New York, Oct. 20.



Chanel Mobile Art container

Image via


“Mobile art is all about movement and fluidity,” commented Hadid. As such, the exhibit adapts to its environments and morphs into different experiences based on audience interactions and locale.



Sketch by Karl Lagerfeld of Zaha Hadid’s Mobile Art pavilion

Photo via The Central Park Conservancy

Courtesy of Chanel


Sure, there’ve been some extraordinary traveling exhibits (I’m still kicking myself for missing photographer Gregory Colbert’s “Ashes and Snow” stop here in 2005), and there have been those who’ve pushed the boundaries of fashion as art (a nod goes to Takashi Murakami, whose recent retrospective included his Louis Vuitton designs), but not designed by Hadid—this is her first creation in New York—and not based solely on a handbag: This exhibit was conceived to commemorate 50 years of Chanel’s iconic quilted 2.55, born February 1955.



Chanel’s 2.55 quilted bag

Photo via


Twenty international artists contribute sculpture, photographs, videos, and installation pieces. And don’t expect everyone to be a slave to 2.55 and Karl Lagerfeld, who envisioned the project…The New York Times promises “a dash of irreverence.”



Karl Lagerfeld and architect Zaha Hadid pose by Sylvie Fleury’s video installation “Cristal Custom Commando” that runs inside a giant pop art–style handbag

Photo via Vanity Fair

Photo: Todd Eberle


The cost of admission? Free! Bookings started yesterday, and time slots are going fast, so reserve your space now.


Dates: Oct. 20–Nov. 9

Place: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park (NYC)

Abroad:   Hong Kong (February–April 2008)

                Tokyo (May–July 2008)

                New York (Oct. 20–Nov. 9, 2008)

                London (May 2009)

                Moscow (October 2009)

                Paris (January–February 2010)

Artists: Nobuyoshi Araki (Japan), Blue Noses (Russia), Lee Bul (South Korea), Daniel Buren (France), Sophie Calle (France), Loris Cecchini (Italy), Wim Delvoye (Belgium), Leandro Erlich (Argentina), Sylvie Fleury (Switzerland), Yang Fudong (China), Subodh Gupta (India), Fabrice Hyber (France), Y.Z. Kami (Iran), David Levinthal (USA), Michael Lin (Taiwan), Yoko Ono (USA), Pierre & Gilles (France), Stephen Shore (USA), Tabaimo (Japan), and Soju Tao (Japan)

MP3 Audio Sound Guides: Soundwalk/Stephen Crasneanscki

Curator: Fabrice Bousteau


Book tickets:


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